Irish History Bitesize
Proclamation of Irish Independence prints

March 29


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1793 On this day in 1793, Charlotte Brooke died in County Longford. She was the daughter of Irish writer Henry Brooke, and was also educated by him. From a young age she developed a love for Irish literature.

As an adult, Brooke translated several Irish books into English, in fear that they would be lost to history if they weren’t readily available to people, saying: “It will give them a page in history and secure a lasting remembrance”.

Brooke also wrote Reliques of Irish Poetry in 1788, as well as several original pieces of work of her own such as The School for Christians, Dialogue between a Lady and her Pupils and The Foundling of the Wood.
Click here to read about more great Irish writers 
Click here to read Ireland’s 100 favourite poems

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1873 On this day in 1873, Peig Sayers, the renowned Irish storyteller was born in County Kerry. She was the daughter of a storyteller and he passed on hundreds of tales and legends to her.

She got married and moved to the Great Blasket Island, where she recounted her stories to visitors. One such visitor was a Norwegian scholar named Carl Marstrander. He alerted the British Museum to this great resource of Irish folklore and tradition living on the island.

Sayers later dictated her life story to her son, who arranged it into a biography with the help of Dublin teacher, Máire Ní Chinnéide, and the book was published in 1936.

In the last few years of her life, Sayers recounted around 350 ancient legends and folk stories for publication by the Irish Folklore Commission.
Click here to read some great Irish fairy stories and folk tales

Peig-Sayer Irish wisdom, Image copyright Ireland Calling

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1933 Ruby Murray was born in Belfast on this day in 1933. She was a legendary singer and a huge star in the 1950s. At one point in 1955, Murray had five different songs in the UK top 20 charts, a record that stood until Madonna enjoyed chart domination in the 1980s.

Murray died of liver cancer in 1996, but oddly her name lives on in the form of cockney rhyming slang, where Londoners would change the words they used in conversations so as not to alert the authorities to any criminal activities they were involved in.

The practice of changing words moved far beyond that of criminals and everyday words were soon replaced with a rhyming alternative. Ruby Murray can now be heard in conversations amongst cockneys when referring to a curry. As in: “I’m absolutely Hank (Hank Marvin = starving) for a Ruby (Ruby Murray = curry).”
Click here to read about more great Irish singers

Ruby Murray singing Galway Bay.

Ruby-Murray Softly, Softly

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Brendan_Gleeson_Mario-Antonio-Pena-Zapateria_CC21955 Happy birthday to Brendan Gleeson, born on this day in Dublin in 1955. Gleeson is a hugely popular actor, and has appeared in many big films, both in Hollywood and in Ireland and the UK.

He starred opposite Leonardo DiCaprio and Cameron Diaz in Gangs of New York, and played the hitman partner of Colin Farrell in the crime comedy In Bruges.

Gleeson has had countless roles in major Hollywood films in his career, a few of the more well-known are Braveheart, 28 Days Later and A.I. Artificial Intelligence. He also feature in the Harry Potter series as Alastor “Mad-Eye” Moody.

Gleeson played Irish nationalist Michael Collins in the 1991 film, The Treaty. Not to be confused with the 1996 movie named Michael Collins, in which Liam Neeson played the title role, although Gleeson did also appear in the film but as a different character.
Click here to read about more great Irish actors 
Click here to read about Colin Farrell 
Click here to read about Liam Neeson  
Click here to read Michael Collins and Kitty Kiernan’s ill-fated love story

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2000 On this day in 2000, pupils at a secondary school in Cork were given a scare as a live grenade was found in a ditch just by the entrance to the school grounds. Historians dated it to either the First World War or the Irish War of Independence. Thankfully, it was safely extinguished in a controlled explosion by experts with no-one being hurt.

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2007 Bono received an honourary knighthood on this day in 2007. The U2 frontman was granted the title, Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE).

He spoke of his newfound status, and how he hoped it will help him get through the door of various world leaders, in order to continue his campaign for the West to abolish Third World debt.

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Bono and his bandmates have always used their profile to campaign for worthy causes.
Click here to read about Bono busking in Dublin to raise money for a charity for the homeless 
Click here to read about Adam Clayton and the Funky Shoe mental health campaign


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